Saturday, November 3, 2012

FINIAN'S RAINBOW  -  Original Broadway Cast

YEAR:  1947
LABEL:  Columbia
TRACK LISTING:  Overture,  This Time of Year,  How Are Things in Glocca Morra?,  Look To the Rainbow,  Old Devil Moon,  Something Sort of Grandish,  If This Isn't Love,  Necessity,  That Great Come-and-Get-It Day,  When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich,  The Begat,  When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love,  Finale - That Great Come-and-Get-It Day
BONUS TRACKS:  How Are Things in Glocca Morra? - E.Y. Harburg,  When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love - E.Y. Harburg,  Don't Pass Me By - E.Y. Harburg
IMPRESSIONS:  I am not Irish and I am not a fan of "Broadway musicals".  At least not those from the modern era in the heyday of Rodgers & Hammerstein.  However, this one is old enough to be of interest to me.  Broadway musicals of the early part of the 20th century (the 1920s and 1930s) were the greatest source of those perfect set of songs we call "standards" now or else assign the title of "The Great American Songbook".  These are the Broadway shows which produced songs by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, George & Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and scores of other masterful songsmiths.  These are the Broadway shows which provided jazz singers from Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan to Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.  And "FINIAN'S RAINBOW" just gets in on the tail end of that before things went all "high as an elephant's eye" and I largely lose interest.  There is also a strong aura of pathos to this album as it was a particular favourite of John F. Kennedy and his sister "Kick" and JFK was listening to it when he received a phone call telling him of Kick's death in a plane crash.  Besides all this, "FINIAN'S RAINBOW" just has some great songs written by E.Y. Harburg and Burton Lane; who both have quite a large number of "standards" between them.  There is just something about the album's mid-century feel that greatly appeals to me.  Ella Logan's voice is so distinctive and no-nonsense I never tire of listening to it (neither did JFK) and a song like "How Are Things In Glocca Morra?" - which I always dismissed as Broadway fluff - acquires a startling resonance when emerging from Logan's pipes!  The album's bonus tracks also offer an interesting example of songwriter "Yip" Harburg singing a couple songs from the show as well as discussing their writing.      
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  This Time of Year,  How Are Things In Glocca Morra?,  Look to the Rainbow,  Old Devil Moon,  Something Sort of Grandish,  If This Isn't Love,  Necessity
FACT SHEET:  FINIAN'S RAINBOW is the first recording of a Broadway musical that Columbia Records ever did.  Originally released in an album of six 78 rpm records in 1947, the album was released on the new LP format a year later.  The original Broadway production of the show ran for 725 performances beginning January 10, 1947.  The show's story summarised by wikipedia is as follows:  "Finian moves to the southern United States (the fictional state of Missitucky is a humorous combination of Mississippi and Kentucky) from Ireland with his daughter Sharon, to bury a stolen pot of gold near Fort Knox, in the mistaken belief that it will grow. A leprechaun named Og follows them, desperate to recover his treasure before the loss of it turns him permanently human. Complications arise when a bigoted and corrupt U.S. Senator gets involved, and when wishes are made inadvertently over the hidden crock. All ends happily." The show starred Ella Logan as Sharon, Donald Richards as Woody, Albert Sharpe as Finian, and Tony Award winner David Wayne as Og.  The show has been revived many times (most recently in 2010) as well as having been filmed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1968.   

No comments:

Post a Comment